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Buying A Restaurant: What Are Things To Consider When Buying A Seasonal Restaurant?

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Comments & Replies: 1     Views: 2088     Posted By: Joe Ranieri  Joe Ranieri, Business Broker: LA, Orange County Areas

Buying a seasonal small business restaurant can be challenging, but Joe Ranieri a business broker restaurant specialist and others in this BizBen Discussion review multiple ways to offset these factors and still get the most from buying and operating a small to mid-sized seasonal restaurant.

Topics: Buying A Business     Tags: buying a business



I live and work in Orange County, California and so there are many beach cities near a boardwalk or promenade that I would consider having seasonal restaurants. Many restaurants in these areas depend on warm weather conditions and are trafficked by a high number of tourists and they see huge sales in the months from April-October, but may see sales plummet by 50%-60% or more in the months in between. A novice buyer who has never owned a seasonal business may be forced to close their doors if they do not plan for the lean months. The rents in affluent areas near the coast can be justified in the spring and summer when the business owner is enjoying 60K-70K gross sales months, but during the "off season" that rent can nearly break them and shutter the doors.

1. Money Management/Rent

An owner should know precisely what their expenses are and not over capitalize in the "hot months." Saving money for the leaner months of business is vital to keeping the doors open. An owner should also monitor their inventory especially at the tail end of the busy season. Businesses in affluent areas, especially near the ocean tend to have a higher dollar amount per square footage, which may not be a problem when times are good, but when things go south, it can be crippling.

2. Staffing

Many college kids or those who are taking a first job are thrilled to only be working for a few short months until they go back to school, and so try to keep an upbeat environment, so many will return year after year. Creating great customer service is very important, because you want to retain as many customers in the off season as possible.

3. Consider Going From 7 Days A Week To 5

As the slower months begin, to save costs, an owner may consider closing Monday and Tuesdays or couple of the slowest days of the week.

4. Offer Loyalty Cards To Locals

Instead of lowering the prices on the menu, which can turn people off when the prices return to normal, consider offering a loyalty rewards program to locals in the off season to keep them coming in the door. A loyalty card can make every fifth sandwich ordered half price or free, etc., and is a great way to retain customers when times are slow.

5. Be Open To Catering Or Invest In A Food Truck

Renting out the kitchen or investing in a food truck can be good opportunities for additional income in the slower months.

I'd be curious to hear what other contributors on this forum have to say, and that includes those who have sold businesses that are seasonal in the fall/winter months.


  Helpful Resources To Assist In Selling And Buying California Businesses
Ron Hottes, Broker - Serving LA, Orange, Inland Empire Area

LINK Business is a business brokerage team of 28 highly skilled and seasoned professionals. Our business brokers have over 100 years of cumulative experience & the expertise to help you buy or sell a business in the LA County, Orange, Inland Empire areas. Call Ron for a consultation at 310-539-8300.

Jack Oh, Business Broker - LA, Orange Counties

Business broker and real estate services in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas. 10 years experience with great negotiating skills. To sell a business or buy a business in the LA or Orange County Areas phone Jack and his team at 562-787-4989.

Joe Ranieri, Business Broker, Orange & LA County Areas

Having owned retail/restaurant businesses for over 20 years, my interest turned to listing and selling businesses rather than owning them. I specialize tend to specialize in Orange County high volume restaurants, fast food independents and chains, bars and liquor stores. Call 714-292-5448.

Steve Zimmerman: Restaurant Broker Specialist

Steve founded Restaurant Realty in 1996. He has personally sold/leased over 900 restaurants, bars & clubs, & completed over 3000 valuations. The author of "Restaurant Dealmaker - An Insider's Trade Secrets For Buying a Restaurant, Bar or Club" available on Amazon. Reach Steve direct at 415-945-9701.

Bob Baumgarten, Business Broker: Orange, LA Counties

National Business Brokerage is a full service brokerage company that has been serving buyers and sellers of Southern California businesses since 1994. We are dedicated to providing the highest standards of professional service for our clients. Phone Bob direct at 949-588-8727.

Michael Davidson, Business Broker - Southern California

Los Angeles Business Broker providing M&A quality services for Small Business Owners. We leverage our technology and expertise to Simplify & Expedite the Business Sales Process. Matching the right buyer with the right business is how we define success.

George Lanza, Business Broker, At Plethora Business Sales

Plethora Businesses, a division of A Premier In Services, Inc., is a Business Intermediary Consulting Firm headquartered in Orange, California. Plethora specializes in the listing and sale of small and medium sized private businesses.

Peter Siegel, MBA - SBA Loans, Non SBA Financing Assistance

For over 25 years I have provided niche business purchase financial advisory and loan placement services with SBA and Non-SBA Loans, Retirement Plan Conversions, Private Investors, etc. Financing amounts available: $20K to $7MM. Call today to get pre-qualified or receive financing: 866-270-6278.


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